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Publisher's Summary

Here is THE book recounting the life and times of one of the most respected men in the world, Warren Buffett. The legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer, Alice Schroeder, unprecedented access to explore directly with him and with those closest to him his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom. The result is the personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as "The Oracle of Omaha."

Although the media track him constantly, Buffett himself has never told his full life story. His reality is private, especially by celebrity standards. Indeed, while the homespun persona that the public sees is true as far as it goes, it goes only so far. Warren Buffett is an array of paradoxes. He set out to prove that nice guys can finish first. Over the years, he treated his investors as partners, acted as their steward, and championed honesty as an investor, CEO, board member, essayist, and speaker. At the same time, he became the world's richest man, all from the modest Omaha headquarters of his company Berkshire Hathaway. None of this fits the term "simple."

Never before has Buffett spent countless hours responding to a writer's questions, talking, giving complete access to his wife, children, friends, and business associates - opening his files, recalling his childhood. It was an act of courage, as The Snowball makes immensely clear.

Being human, his own life, like most lives, has been a mix of strengths and frailties. Yet notable though his wealth may be, Buffett's legacy will not be his ranking on the scorecard of wealth; it will be his principles and ideas that have enriched people's lives. This book tells you why Warren Buffett is the most fascinating American success story of our time.

©2008 Alice Schroeder; (P)2008 Books on Tape

What members say

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  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Get the abridged edition

Having listen to this book, I really regret not having got the abridged version. The problem with this book is that the editor and author have not cut nearly enough. My guess is that the abridged version is close to how the final edited book should have been.

If in any doubt, get the abridged version.

(I would have given that four or five stars.)

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony
  • Campbellville, ON, Canada
  • 09-05-13

Id rather go to the dentist for surgery...

What disappointed you about The Snowball?

Expecting to find nuggets of wisdom gleamed from the life of a billionaire? You can count them on 1 hand. Those 'nuggets' are buried deep in long boring swaths of useless information. A dictionary would be more entertaining and enlightening. I give this book my lowest recommendation, which is disappointing because I am a fan of the great Buffet. But you can't pay homage to a man by listing the most mundane facts of his life for 37 hours straight. This ranks among one of the worst books I've read in my entire life and I highly recommend you do NOT buy this book. Instead look for youtube videos of Buffet doing speeches, all his nuggets of wisdom are in there (and you wont lose 37 hours of your life to get them).

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Snowball?

I would cut 95% of the book. There was no drama, too much unnecessary facts. Yes life can be boring, thats not why you buy a book, even a biography. This book is a tomb of the unnecessary.

Any additional comments?

As a newspaper owner Im surprised Warren let a book this bad hit the press.

10 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • Northbrook, IL, USA
  • 11-04-08

Excellent

Thoroughly loved it. Thank you!

7 of 13 people found this review helpful

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detailed and revealing

Fantastic presentation of buffet's life, loved the detail and effort that went into creating this

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36 hours of greatness

The book may be very long but this has been one of the best audio books I listened to. So much insight on the life of Warren Buffett and also great insight on true investing. A must for any investor

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Loved it!

It was a great book and narrated very well. I'm glad I bought the book.

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really worth the time to listen.

really enjoyed it, turned my perspective inside out of how Buffett got to be where he is and how he made his fortune.

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Buffett is my new hero

Just like every human, he has his faults, but this was a comprehensive and detailed description of a great life by a great man.

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larger than life yet simple and very human

loved it. Sobbed at times. loughed at others. Grear learning for me. Although i picked this book with the hope to understand investements, I got an even bigger lesson on vallues and life. Long but worthwhile.

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Mortal Man

You need to have one hell of a work commute to get thrift this whole audiobook. Jeeze this was long! I didn't get the explicit investing tips that I hoped to glean from this cat's life story. However, Shroeder does a good job of explaining that this chap's idiosyncrasies are the quintessential takeaways for those looking for these tips. Only his personality could lead to this man's routine methodologies, which ultimately allow for his unique rolling technique of his green snowball. Warren is a product of a subtly traumatic childhood. His wife, Suzie, is the most interesting foil and human who was indispensably instrumental to his success as an investor. All things considered, Shroeder proves that Buffett is a mere mortal like us that found his true north and committed to it with all his being. The biography gives me all the confidence that we can all reach nearly immeasurable fortunes (financial or otherwise) if we stick to our respective scripts. Not a bad listen. Potter did all that she could given the often dry storyline. AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY